Founder of Agar Global Services and Partner at Bessern Enterprise. Talent development specialist, trainer and experienced career consultant. Works with various organizations in helping them achieve their talent development goals, as well as professionals who are looking to take their careers to the next level or reinvent their personal brands.
For people who are shy and introverted, networking can feel completely outside of their comfort zone. However, it is one of the most important factors in career building and job-seeking. Through different connections and contacts, you can line up interviews, and learn things outside of your immediate circle of friends and colleagues.
If the thought of networking with strangers fills you with fear here are some of the tips that can help you get more comfortable.
If you don't like going to big events and meeting people in groups, you can opt for one-on-one conversations to build your network. A one-on-one conversation gives introverts the ability to show their listening skills and create a solid connection. Also, when you interact with someone one-on-one, chances are that the other person will remember you over a longer period.
Before attending your next networking event or any meeting, spend some time thinking about what you can learn from others. Prepare a list of questions that you can ask new people. If you are afraid of public speaking, there is nothing wrong with practicing beforehand. Write down a few questions and practice before going to the networking event.
Bring a friend
If you are not comfortable going alone, take a friend or a colleague along with you to the event. Having someone you know by your side can make a big difference. When you know someone in the room well, it tends to make you less nervous and happier to mingle. And if the friend is not as shy or introverted as you are, it is an added advantage, as they can help start the conversation with strangers.
Try to avoid being the person sitting in a corner answering messages and emails on your phone and being uncomfortable. If you do not feel like starting a conversation with others, at least look engaged in the event. Do not appear as an introvert. Be eager and open to meet other people, even when it is not feeling right on the inside. A simple smile at a person can spark a conversation and create an inviting space for them to approach you.
Once the networking event is over, make sure you have collected the business cards of other professionals. Send emails within 24 hours and personalize them to ensure continuity of the connection. Connect with people on LinkedIn and be in touch. Here are some basic tips for staying in touch with people: